Looking and feeling your best can cost a small fortune. Find out how to be a savvy spender and still enjoy life's little luxuries.
Is hitting the shops and indulging in a spot of pampering your idea of a fun way to spend a day? If this sounds like you, you'll probably know only too well that enjoying treats like these and living frugally don’t usually go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life’s little luxuries even if you're on a budget. So check out my favourite not-to-be-missed money saving tips especially for girls.
1. Start off with our fantastic Frugal Friday blog
If you’re hitting the high street for some much-needed retail therapy, don’t forget to check out our Frugal Friday blog first. Every week we’ll give you a full rundown of all the best high street and online sales. Even better, you can be the first to read the blog by getting an update the moment it's published. All you need to do is register now.
2. Always compare prices
Since lovemoney.com is a comparison site I don’t think I’d be doing my job properly unless I asked you to compare prices thoroughly before you buy anything.
There are plenty of sites you can use to help you out here. General sites such as Shopzilla, Kelkoo, Pricerunner and PriceGrabber are a good place to start for bargains on clothes, shoes, jewellery, health and beauty.
3. Use an online discount store
Online discount stores such as Fragrance Direct, Cheap Smells, StrawberryNet and Feel Unique are great places to look for big savings, allowing you to cut your costs quickly on a huge range of fragrances and beauty products.
4. Become a Beauty VIP
If you take looking good seriously, check out Beauty VIP. It's a membership club that provides you with thousands of discounts on a range of beauty products and services across the UK. Membership costs £19.99 a year if you join before the end of May - usual price £29.99.
Current special offers include a free facial at Origins, a deep exfoliation treatment at Sk:n Clinics for just £20 - usual price £59, and a half price haircut at Headmasters on your first visit. All discounts will give you at least 20% off.
- Watch our The best ways to shop online video.
Rachel Robson highlights four ways to save money as you shop!
5. Always check ebay
No matter what I’m buying it’s always worth checking ebay for bargains. For example, while I like Dermalogica products, I don’t like the price tag. But, luckily for me, one ebay seller is currently offloading most of the range at more than 50% off.
If you’re buying beauty products or perfume from ebay, do check the item is new before you make a bid. And make sure the seller has had plenty of positive feedback from other buyers.
6. Find a voucher code
If you’re a keen internet shopper, you can’t really fail to notice the huge voucher codes revolution which is going on right now. If this is a new one on you, a voucher code simply gives you a discount off your online purchase. All you need to do is hunt down a relevant code from a voucher code website for the item you want to buy and type it in at the checkout.
Good sites to try include HotUKDeals, vouchercodes.co.uk and myvouchercodes.co.uk. For example, vouchercodes.co.uk is offering 10% off beauty products at Debenhams until May 8th with online code PNP6. To find out more read Where to find secret voucher codes.
7. Join a swapping website
Swapping can be a clever way to update your wardrobe for free. For starters, join SwapStyle which is the biggest fashion swap site in the world. (Note that the site is currently having a facelift and won’t be available for the next few weeks.) You should also take a look at Stop spending, start swapping. This is our step-by-step guide on how to swap everything from clothes to books to holidays.
8. Hold a clothes swapping party
Alternatively, why not hold your own clothes and accessories swapping party? It’s dead easy. All you need to do is invite your friends over, and ask them to bring all their unwanted items (and maybe a bottle of wine too!) Then swap away till your heart’s content. Clothes for free - what a marvellous idea!
Drop a brand
9. Who needs designer stuff anyway?
Luxury and designer goods can come with a truly eye watering price tag. Before you even think about super splurging £163 on Creme de la Mer 60ml moisturising cream (I kid you not!), ask yourself whether this really is a sensible purchase (if you're on a budget, it isn't). There are plenty of amazing products out there for a fraction of this ridiculous price. Check the reviews and downshift your brand to save you a packet.
Get free stuff!
10. Get a free makeover
Large department stores usually offer free makeovers at their beauty counters, which is a great way to look fabulous without spending a penny. Don't forget this is often the sales assistant’s golden opportunity to sell you their range of products, so don’t cave in to the pressure.
11. Get a free haircut
Hair salons regularly offer free haircuts or colouring. This allows trainee stylists to get valuable practice, and gives you a great new look for free. Gumtree has loads of ads from stylists who are looking for suitable models. You could be one of them!
12. Choose a top savings account
Finally, the extra money you’ll save now you’re living more frugally should be put to good use in an excellent savings account - but which one to choose? You could try the West Bromwich BS Direct Bonus Account 1 which pays 2.92%, including a 1% bonus until 31 January 2011, on savings of £1,000 or more.
Smaller savers should go for the Halifax web Saver Extra with a rate of 2.80%, or 3% if you have a Halifax current account. Just be aware only one penalty withdrawal is allowed per year. Further withdrawals will mean you lose 30 day’s interest on the amount you take out.
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